Lionel O-27 log dump troubles

Hi all,

I'm a model railroading newbie. I got a Lionel starter set a couple of years ago, and have been picking up a new piece or two here and there. Generally I only get the thing out around Christmas.

I started out thinking that Lionel was the big name with the history behind it, but I have had enough trouble that I'm really starting to doubt Lionel's quality control.

Anyway, I have a log dump car, cat #6-26797 I think. Lionel has inexplicably omitted any catalog numbers from the car, the packaging, and the documentation, but it seems to match the one listed on the official website. I just obtained the 0-27 gauge operating/uncoupling remote control track, cat # 6-12746.

The log dump car appears to operate by sliding contact shoes on each truck, each of which contacts a fourth rail that runs half the length of the remote control track. So when both slider shoes are contacting the fourth (and fifth) rail(s), the circuit is completed and the dumping mechanism is actuated.

It's a good theory, but the problem is that it almost never works. I checked the voltage across the fourth and fifth rails, and it seems okay. As near as I can tell, the sliding shoes are not reliably contacting the rails. If I manually set the car on the operating track just so, it works. If the car is being pulled by the engine, it almost never works. Seems like as it goes around the track it gets ever-so-slightly misaligned so that there is not good contact when it hits the operating section.

Is there any kind of fix for this? It is truly irritating to be unable to . . . uh . . . dump my logs. Surely there must be a better solution than jiggling the car as it sits there? Or am I doomed to give up and sell the whole mess on eBay?

BTW the "uncoupling" function seems to work perfectly.

Thanks for any help,


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